Writing my thoughts in an airport is a good way of passing that extremely tedious period waiting for a departure. On this occasion I am dog tired after enjoying the usual magnificent hospitality we always receive from this part of the country. For it to be accompanied by the three points we came here for also eases the aches and pains.
"We kept possession well and our hosts were limited to one or two half chances throughout"
Our Saturday morning flight from Southampton needed an early rise and I don’t know about anyone else but I really struggle to sleep the night before anything where missing a specific departure time ruins everything, even with two alarms set! As a result it was with sore eyes I boarded - not ideal preparation for the expected events ahead.
More importantly our small party of three experienced an on-time departure, meaning we arrived in Newcastle with plenty to play with.
Both Sunderland and the city on the Tyne have played host to our off-the-field exploits down the years and it was to be the latter that would look after us on this occasion.
Like all away days we have a location we have always visited for our pre-match refreshments so we headed there before making our way high up into the away end at the Stadium of Light. Sold out as always, we made some serious noise.
As is often the case, we kept possession well and our hosts were limited to one or two half chances throughout. A side doing their utmost to avoid a similar result to their last outing were always going to be tighter and potentially more difficult to breakdown. It was crucial to take any chances that came our way.
Alexis Sanchez was superb all afternoon, a situation emphasised by both his goals for different reasons. His first was a sublime finish when through one-on-one that put us on our way.
His second came from another mistake but he deserved his reward after chasing down a goalkeeper in the 92nd minute, despite working hard all afternoon.
Not a stunning performance on the day but a highly satisfying result. Lovely.